The effect of functional circuit training on balance and strength in physically frail older adults

Maria Giné-Garriga, Míriam Guerra, Esther Pagès, Todd M. Manini, Marc Marí-Dell'Olmo, Rosario Jiménez, Viswanath B. Unnithan

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a 12-week functional circuit training program (FCT) could alter markers of physical frailty in a group of frail community-dwelling older adults.
METHODS: Fifty-one individuals (31 women, 20 men), 83.98 ± 2.89 years old, who were considered frail based on the results of the rapid-gait and stand-up tests, and according to two questions of the center for epidemiological studies depression (CES-D) scale, were randomly assigned to two groups (FCT=26, control group, CG=25); forty-one were assessed at week 12 (FCT=22, CG=19). FCT underwent a supervised 12-week program (two sessions per week of 45 minutes/session), which focused on a combination of functional balance and lower body strength-based exercises. CG met once a week in the training facility for health education meetings. Measures of physical frailty (rapid-gait and stand-up tests, CES-D scale, Barthel index), strength, balance, gait speed, and self-reported health status (SF-12 and activities-specific balance confidence scale) were assessed at weeks 0 and 12. Measures for physical frailty, balance, gait speed, isometric strength and self-reported questionnaires were evaluated using an ANCOVA, adjusted for baseline measurements. Data was analyzed following the intention-to-treat principle.
RESULTS: Physical frailty measures in FCT participants showed significant (p<0.05) improvements relative to those in the CG. Following the intervention, the mean score ± SD in the Barthel index assessment of participants in the FCT and CG groups were 78.23 ±.88 and 69.15 ±.95, respectively in week 12 measures. Individuals in the FCT also improved significantly (p<0.05) in the rapid-gait test (s) and in the stand-up test (s) compared to the individuals in the CG (e.g. rapid-gait test: FCT 9.25 ±.23s vs. CG 12.34 ±.25s, p<0.05). Significant (p<0.05) improvements were also demonstrated for the balance, gait speed, and self-reported health status measures (e.g. unipedal stance: FCT 5.09 ±.38s vs. CG 1.51 ±.41s, p<0.05). Maximal isometric knee extensor strength showed significant (p<0.05) increases in FCT individuals.
CONCLUSIONS: In summary, these data indicate that a 12-week FCT program reduces markers of physical frailty and improves measures of physical function among physically frail older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-144
Number of pages1
JournalMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


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